Dental implants are changing the way people live. Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth which look, feel, and function like natural teeth. A patient who has lost teeth regains a sense of security and well-being in knowing that the teeth appear natural, and that they can eat virtually anything.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are tiny titanium posts which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing. They are surgically placed into the jawbone, and during healing the bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Dental implants may be best thought of as tooth root substitutes. Eventually, small posts are attached to the implant which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Implants also help preserve facial structure by preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing and smile with confidence.
The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, the implants are placed within the jawbone where teeth are missing. During the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums healing and bonding with the jawbone. Most patients are able to wear a temporary denture and eat a soft diet during this time. After the implant has healed and bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. One’s surgeon will uncover the implants by making a small incision in the gum line and attaching small posts, which will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. These posts protrude through the gums and will not be seen when the artificial teeth are placed over them. The entire procedure from start (surgery) to finish (teeth) usually takes four to twelve months. Most patients experience minimal if no disruption in their daily life.
Who actually performs the implant placement?
Implants are a team effort between an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Restorative Dentist. While Doctor Massoth performs the actual implant surgery, and initial tooth extractions and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.